Armed man wearing Trump shirt confronts woman with child at polling station, authorities shrug

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 05, 2016, 09.11 PM(IST)

Finland has one of the biggest gun ownership rates in the world. Photograph:( Getty )

A man clad in a Donald Trump shirt stood outside a Loudun Country, Virginia polling station Friday carrying a 357 magnum, the Huffington Post reports. There is apparently nothing the authorities can do about it.

Erika Cotti told the Huffington Post that she encountered the man when she went to vote at the county's registrar's office.

"I had my 9-year-old son with me. I felt intimidated," she said. "And I had to explain to my 9-year-old why a man with a 357 magnum is standing outside the polling station."

Cotti said that she rejected the Republican sample ballot she was offered. "He's like, 'Who are you going to vote for, crooked Hillary?' And I was like, that's really none of your business." Cotti added that the man was standing on the sidewalk outside of the office when they left, and blocked their path.

A local registrar, Judy Brown, confirmed that the man was standing outside her office, handing out Republican Party literature. He had a holstered gun in an open carry state, so law enforcement was powerless to do anything, Brown told Huffington Post.

Virginia is the wealthiest county in America. 

In the US, while there is broad national legislation bearing on guns, the laws concerning open-carry versus concealed-carry vary from state to state.

Brown told the Huffington post that the man was "being nice" to people, and appeared to be observing the rule forbiding canvassing within forty feet zone of the polling station entrance.

Next, Brown said her office contacted the local Republican Party, which spoke to the man and convinced him to pull his Trump shirt over the weapon, blocking it from sight.

The Loudon County Republican Committee Chairman, Will Estrada, told the Huffington Post that the man was a former law enforcement official, and also a veteran with a perrmit to carry a concealed weapon. Estrada specifically said that he doesn't want to ban volunteers from carrying weapons, even at polling stations.

CNN reports that on Friday, a federal judge warned Trump's campaign, and Republican operative Roger Stone, against any "voter intimidation" activity in Ohio. The Democrats have brought several cases 

A federal judge Friday warned Donald Trump's campaign and Republican operative Roger Stone against any "voter intimidation" activity in Ohio, the result of one of several cases brought by Democrats before Election Day.

The Huffington Post pointed to a pretty startling inconsistency; while a man outside a polling station carrying a gun doesn't bother them this time, their tolerance appears to be selective.

Conservative media outlets and Republican politicians spent significant time and money attacking Obama's administration over how the Justice Department handled a 2008 incident involving a man standing outside a polling place carrying a nightstick. But, the Huffington Post points out, what's interesting is the man who promoted and condemned the video of the nightstick-wielder is a man named Mike Roman, who reports say has been working on so-called election protection efforts related to the Trump campaign.

Despite all of Donald Trump's rhetoric about the election being rigged, it's unlikely that Republicans will be galvanised to protect the freedom from voter intimidation over this latest incident in Virginia.